Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

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dpk711
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Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby dpk711 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:12 pm

I was surprised when I got my first 3 grades: A, A-, A- which gave around a 3.8 GPA.
However, due to an administrative delay, I just recently got a disappointing B- for the fourth class giving me a cumulative first semester GPA of 3.53.
I know there is much more work to be done for my second semester, but just basing off the grades right now, am I in good shape? Penn Law is notoriously bad with being transparent with grade distributions and it is only a guess that I might be in the top third of the class.

What kind of employment opportunities am I looking at as of right now? Further, how should I spin my B- at an interview?

HeavenWood
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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby HeavenWood » Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:35 pm

If you ask CCP they will tell you were you stand. That being said, you're definitely well above median...

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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:15 pm

Hey, I'm a Penn 1l too with a 3.5 GPA exactly after the first semester. From what I've scrounged up through anonymous internet postings/asking around the school, my GPA puts me between top quarter and top third...probably somewhere around top 30% or so. Obviously adjust for yourself a little bit because your GPA is .03 higher than mine.

As to how to spin that at interviews, I think you're in really good shape, because it's obvious from your grades that you're an above-median student who simply had a bad exam. I'm guessing this was in contracts? I think interviewers will be sympathetic....most of them probably had a similar experience with one class that just seemed like an outlier. I wouldn't worry about it too much, it's clearly an outlier grade and your cumulative GPA is still really good.

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thesealocust
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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby thesealocust » Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:11 pm

You do not talk about grades in interviews. It might get brought up, in which case you dismiss it as quickly as possible. It is unlikely to come up, and if it does, they'll expect you to just laugh it off and not dwell on it obsessively.

Everyone in law school gets random grades sometimes, including the people who will be interviewing you. With hundreds of applicants to choose from they want students who are academically proven, yes, but your transcript speaks for itself. You aren't going to get the job because you succeed in proving the B- was a fluke, you're going to get it because you succeed in proving your a likable, relatable, intelligent, hard-working person in general. The more time you talk about grades the further you are from making the connections you need with your interviewer to ensure positive results.

Aside from that, a 3.5 at Penn makes you competitive at every firm in the country and close to a lock for a good job if you perform reasonably well in interviews + do similarly well next semester.

Relax.

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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby r6_philly » Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:13 pm

I must say, if your end up talking about grades in your interviews, it may be an uphill climb to get a job, even if the grades are good. They should take an interest in your person/experience not your grades.

Edited for +1

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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby LawIdiot86 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:16 pm

I would address it by not bringing it up. You've got a good GPA at a great school. Assuming you have reasonable interview skills and normal preferences as to geography and practice group, you should have no problem getting a job at a very good firm, not an elite firm, but easily in the V100 if not V50.

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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby r6_philly » Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:21 pm

LawIdiot86 wrote:I would address it by not bringing it up. You've got a good GPA at a great school. Assuming you have reasonable interview skills and normal preferences as to geography and practice group, you should have no problem getting a job at a very good firm, not an elite firm, but easily in the V100 if not V50.


People with much lower grades can get jobs from V50. Grades are not determinative unless they completely fail the firm's floor. Only a handful of firms are like that, and perhaps most people don't think about working there anyway.

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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:48 pm

dpk711 wrote:Further, how should I spin my B- at an interview?


At another T14 and I can say grades can be touchy even when they are relatively good. I went into a (1L) OCI interview with a corporate employer and handed them my transcript right away because our career office said to give them to interviewers. They were surprised by this and then said my grades were impressive, but then made comments that alluded I was trying to show off. I tried to play humble, but it didn't set a good tone for the interview.

I had one firm interview where I did the same and it was no problem, almost as though they would have been surprised had I not done it.

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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby c3pO4 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
dpk711 wrote:Further, how should I spin my B- at an interview?


At another T14 and I can say grades can be touchy even when they are relatively good. I went into a (1L) OCI interview with a corporate employer and handed them my transcript right away because our career office said to give them to interviewers. They were surprised by this and then said my grades were impressive, but then made comments that alluded I was trying to show off. I tried to play humble, but it didn't set a good tone for the interview.

I had one firm interview where I did the same and it was no problem, almost as though they would have been surprised had I not done it.


ya. put your transcript last below your resume, references, etc. almost everytime nobody will see your transcript during the interview. this seriously works

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dpk711
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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby dpk711 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:'m guessing this was in contracts?

Yes, lol.

Well thanks for the advice guys. We'll see what happens in the next few months.

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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:20 pm

dpk711 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:'m guessing this was in contracts?

Yes, lol.


Is this common? I had the same, contracts was my outlier grade

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straxen
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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby straxen » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:52 pm

It happens. I had one random B- grade (bottom 4%), my only 1L grade that wasn't an A or A-. The 1L and 2L jobhunt was bizarre for me, the grade didn't seem to hold me back though I'm sure there were a few employers that looked at it and thought it was an issue.

I'm not sure there's a great way to spin it, but have an answer in case, because I did get asked about 25% of the time. Don't be defensive about it, don't be negative toward the professor, and certainly don't allow them to dwell on it, and for the love of god don't bring it up, but have an answer that wouldn't make someone worry about you in practice. In terms of employment opportunities, I think just look at your GPA as it is allowing for the possibility that the results might be a little stranger.

Anecdotally, at 2L OCI, I found actually that those who did in fact ask me about it were much more prone to giving me a callback. Not sure whether that was because I allayed the concerns over the bad grade, or if they already knew they wanted to give me a callback but wanted to address the grade issue first. I think most people who don't ask will either assume it's an outlier and ignore it, or if they have a problem with it, it's not really one you can fix. One hiring partner asked me straight up WTF happened (his words), in what was a pretty surreal interview overall, but he ended up calling me with an offer. Mine was that my usually successful approach of following all the forks in the road didn't work out very well on a severely word-limited exam where people who dropped some of the nuance or alternative theories and hit the main point harder did much better, which was true.

I think it's important that you talk with the professor about it if you can, (1) to figure out what happened and not let it happen again, and (2) to be able to show in interviews, if asked, that you were proactive about it.

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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:56 pm

straxen wrote:It happens. I had one random B- grade (bottom 4%), my only 1L grade that wasn't an A or A-. The 1L and 2L jobhunt was bizarre for me, the grade didn't seem to hold me back though I'm sure there were a few employers that looked at it and thought it was an issue.

I'm not sure there's a great way to spin it, but have an answer in case, because I did get asked about 25% of the time. Don't be defensive about it, don't be negative toward the professor, and certainly don't allow them to dwell on it, and for the love of god don't bring it up, but have an answer that wouldn't make someone worry about you in practice. In terms of employment opportunities, I think just look at your GPA as it is allowing for the possibility that the results might be a little stranger.

Anecdotally, at 2L OCI, I found actually that those who did in fact ask me about it were much more prone to giving me a callback. Not sure whether that was because I allayed the concerns over the bad grade, or if they already knew they wanted to give me a callback but wanted to address the grade issue first. I think most people who don't ask will either assume it's an outlier and ignore it, or if they have a problem with it, it's not really one you can fix. One hiring partner asked me straight up WTF happened (his words), in what was a pretty surreal interview overall, but he ended up calling me with an offer. Mine was that my usually successful approach of following all the forks in the road didn't work out very well on a severely word-limited exam where people who dropped some of the nuance or alternative theories and hit the main point harder did much better, which was true.

I think it's important that you talk with the professor about it if you can, (1) to figure out what happened and not let it happen again, and (2) to be able to show in interviews, if asked, that you were proactive about it.
I had a similar experience. Literally straight A's plus one B-. I got asked about it in EVERY interview. Come up with a clever line if you can, something about you and the professor being on different wavelengths in that class, etc. Don't demean the professor or the class. Chalk it up to a bad day, something like that. They won't care.

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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby desertlaw » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:20 pm

It's too early to start talking about OCI's and strategies. Sealocust is going to have a panic attack if he has to be in charge of the libel show AND worry about giving everyone OCI advice, all in the months of February and March.

To all the 1L's that got their grades back --- just do as good or better this semester, come back this summer when you want help with your job search/strategy and there will be plenty of rising 3L's that will want to help.

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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:57 pm

I'm at a top-20 school...with a GPA that puts me in the top 35-40% of the class. I've got two B minuses on my transcript. I ended up with four vault offers including a V20 and V5. Grades only came up once in all of my call backs. A partner at the V20 where I received an offer asked me point blank, "whats up with your grades...you've got a lot of good ones and a couple really bad ones?" My answer was basically, "I don't have an excuse...not sure what happened...I think I should have studied more/smarter."
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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5ky
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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby 5ky » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:58 pm

r6_philly wrote:
LawIdiot86 wrote:I would address it by not bringing it up. You've got a good GPA at a great school. Assuming you have reasonable interview skills and normal preferences as to geography and practice group, you should have no problem getting a job at a very good firm, not an elite firm, but easily in the V100 if not V50.


People with much lower grades can get jobs from V50. Grades are not determinative unless they completely fail the firm's floor. Only a handful of firms are like that, and perhaps most people don't think about working there anyway.


This is only partially true -- it's a mistake to say grades are completely not determinative. Note: for OP, however, a 3.53 will open up almost all doors, so in that sense, r6 is correct.

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yngblkgifted
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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby yngblkgifted » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:07 pm

Use common sense when spinning it and have a beer and chillax. Congrats on a very solid semester.

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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
dpk711 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:'m guessing this was in contracts?

Yes, lol.


Is this common? I had the same, contracts was my outlier grade


I'm the first anonymous, the Penn Law 1l with a 3.5. I just guessed that it was contracts because I knew one of the sections got their grades back late, but now that I think about it, contracts was my lowest grade too. Who ARE the people doing well in contracts at Penn??? haha. Anyway, congrats again, OP, and stop worrying!

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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:29 pm

This is hilarious. I got a B- in contracts too (at another T10, not Penn), along with 2 A-'s and a B+ putting me at about a 3.35. Contracts was easily my easiest/best class all semester and I was completely shocked when I got the grade. Anyway, thanks everyone who contributed to this thread as it was also relevant to my interests, though my overall GPA wasn't quite as high.

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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:53 pm

New Penn 1L here. 3.58 overall GPA (I think). Fairly consistent: A, A-, B+, B+. Where approximately does this fall in the class rank. I here it is above median, but I don't know exactly where it would put me overall or what my ceiling would be as far as firms. Thoughts?

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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:New Penn 1L here. 3.58 overall GPA (I think). Fairly consistent: A, A-, B+, B+. Where approximately does this fall in the class rank. I here it is above median, but I don't know exactly where it would put me overall or what my ceiling would be as far as firms. Thoughts?



Stop. Everyone just stop. Median at Penn is good, above median is better. I don't know where you rank because I go to MV(not P).

Use the search thread and go through last year's OCI results thread to see "what my ceiling would be." Or decide to study and continue to get good grades, because you're ceiling will probably be lowered if your grades are significantly lowered.

Spend time right now doing better and more productive things than worrying about where your grades will line up with firms. That speculation can start in June.

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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:New Penn 1L here. 3.58 overall GPA (I think). Fairly consistent: A, A-, B+, B+. Where approximately does this fall in the class rank. I here it is above median, but I don't know exactly where it would put me overall or what my ceiling would be as far as firms. Thoughts?

This would be interesting to learn, because my grades are exactly like yours with one (slightly lower) grade exception.
Anonymous User wrote:Stop. Everyone just stop. Median at Penn is good. I don't know where you rank because I go to MV(not P).

I hope you are right about Median. Because if you attend “V” you know that 40% of "V" law students are sporting t-shirts saying they have no job.

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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I hope you are right about Median. Because if you attend “V” you know that 40% of "V" law students are sporting t-shirts saying they have no job.


that was 3 people bro

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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby sundance95 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:New Penn 1L here. 3.58 overall GPA (I think). Fairly consistent: A, A-, B+, B+. Where approximately does this fall in the class rank. I here it is above median, but I don't know exactly where it would put me overall or what my ceiling would be as far as firms. Thoughts?

This would be interesting to learn, because my grades are exactly like yours with one (slightly lower) grade exception.
Anonymous User wrote:Stop. Everyone just stop. Median at Penn is good. I don't know where you rank because I go to MV(not P).

I hope you are right about Median. Because if you attend “V” you know that 40% of "V" law students are sporting t-shirts saying they have no job.

Lolno. Guess you dont attend V. But yes, mindlessly repeating what ATL says as if it's gospel truth can be fun!

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Re: Penn Law Student here with 3.53 GPA

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:New Penn 1L here. 3.58 overall GPA (I think). Fairly consistent: A, A-, B+, B+. Where approximately does this fall in the class rank. I here it is above median, but I don't know exactly where it would put me overall or what my ceiling would be as far as firms. Thoughts?

This would be interesting to learn, because my grades are exactly like yours with one (slightly lower) grade exception.
Anonymous User wrote:Stop. Everyone just stop. Median at Penn is good. I don't know where you rank because I go to MV(not P).

I hope you are right about Median. Because if you attend “V” you know that 40% of "V" law students are sporting t-shirts saying they have no job.

Calm down. You're in excellent shape. People below median can (and do) get biglaw jobs coming out of Penn, so given your impressive spot on the curve, the only thing that could possibly sink you is shitty interview skills and/or a failtastic bidding strategy.

Count your blessings. Some of us would kill to be in your position.




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